NewsKansas City Public Safety


Court docs: Man set 2 additional houses on fire to cover up fatal fire in Caldwell County

Caldwell County fire
Posted at 6:47 PM, Jun 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-13 23:15:00-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Caldwell County authorities say a man allegedly set two house fires to cover up another fire he set that killed a woman.

Harold Edwards Jr., 27, was charged in the fires on Monday, including one that left 96-year-old Lorene Fickess dead.

Edwards also allegedly caused a total of $620,000 worth of damage after starting the fires.

According to court documents, crews responded to the first fire at around 8:32 a.m. on May 10 at 5050 SW State Route D.

Neighbors in the area stated on that day that a man driving a black Ford Escape stopped in the middle of road to ask if the occupant of the home was okay and later drove off.

A neighbor said the man later returned and spoke with them.

An assessment from the Caldwell County Mutual Insurance Company estimated a $50,000 loss for the damages sustained in the first fire.

While still on scene of the first fire, crews received reports of a second fire at 2929 SW State Route D.

Employees from Platte County Electric called in the fire and reported parking next to a black Ford Escape when they arrived.

The employees got out to take pictures of the fire and said the Escape was gone when they returned.

The owner of this building reported the total loss for the damage was at $500,000.

Crews later responded 1525 NW State Route D on reports of a third fire.

The Caldwell County Mutual Insurance Company estimated the damage sustained in the fire was $70,000.

Investigators reviewed surveillance video from a nearby school which also showed the black Ford Escape traveling back and forth between the crimes scenes.

The Caldwell County, Missouri, Sheriff's Department received a tip on May 26 about the fires.

The caller said Edwards had confessed to setting the three fires.

Investigators were later able to obtain Edwards' cellphone number.

Through a search warrant, investigators were able to determine the cellphone number belonged to Edwards.

Investigators were able to use cell phone data to place Edwards at all three crimes scenes.

Authorities believe Edwards set the second and third houses on fire to cover up the first one.